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Unions reject Qld’s WHS changes

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Unions reject Qld's WHS changes

Unions reject Qld’s WHS changes

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The ACTU says proposed changes to Queensland’s work health and safety (WHS) laws will increase safety risks.

Earlier this year the Queensland Government launched a review of the WHS laws and sought feedback from businesses.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin the review found support for the laws but also the need for change.

The Queensland Government said the proposed changes were significant and the amendments needed to go before the national Select Council on Workplace Relations before they were implemented.

Details of the changes would be made available once they had been approved.

However, the ACTU has already cited the changes. It says the proposals call “for national laws that require unions to give 24 hours’ notice before entering a site and [the removal of the] right of health and safety reps to call a cease work due to safety concerns”.

“Expecting workers to individually speak up about their safety concerns will ultimately mean that many will not speak up or could lose their job if they do. Some workers won’t be willing or able to put their hands up and complain, especially if they are in casual work,” said ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick.

Borowick added: “Forcing unions to give 24 hours’ notice before visiting a workplace where suspected safety [breaches] are occurring would take pressure off employers to ensure workplaces are always safe”.

He said the Queensland Government “should wait for the national OHS law review in 2016, not respond with knee-jerk laws”.

For more details, see Workplace Safety Queensland and the ACTU.

Published on 5 December 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

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